What’s the one piece of outdoor gear you can’t go without?


That’s the question we recently posed ourselves and quickly after, on our social media accounts.

We had over 70 comments through our Facebook and dozens of answers over on our Instagram.


Reader Submissions - Gear You Can't Go Without


There were plenty of expected answers — ‘shoes’, ‘backpack’ and ‘coffee’ — but also plenty of items that we wish we’d thought of. 

While choosing one piece of gear is nigh on impossible, and you won’t get far without shoes or shorts on, here are some less suspecting bits of kit that’ll massively improve your experience of the outdoors according to you — and us too!

Audience Answers


Lifestraw Water Bottle

‘Best addition to my kit in years!’ – Amy Gee

A bottle that filters water while you drink? Why didn’t we think of that! Want to know more, read our review of the Lifestraw Water Bottle.



Amazon Kindle

‘To read in my tent.’ – Michael Dayes

Kindles are awesome camp companions. They’re significantly more compact and crumple-proof than your average paperback, not to mention hardback, and they weigh just 174 grams. They’re also self illuminating, so there’s no need to read with a head torch on!

Not sure what to read out in the wilds? Check out our summer adventure reading list.


Physical Map

‘A map, preferably covered in clear contact. [It’s] something to use during the day, something to read at night, and something to help you get over that pesky barbed wire fence.’ – Greg Robinson

In addition to its navigational purpose, a contact covered map is even a decent seat.




A Jetboil was one of the most common answers and for good reason!

We’ve consistently sung their praises, Henry writing that, ‘Jetboil stoves are widely regarded by gram-conscious hikers as very good, very easy (and very fast) additions to the kit list’.

Henry has written fondly about the Jetboil Stash Hiking Stove in particular.



Luci Lantern

The Luci Lantern was one of the bestselling items we included in our Christmas Camping Gear Guides

The Luci Outdoor 2.0 Inflatable Solar Lantern has a whopping 37 five-star reviews on Wild Earth, so we’re not the only fans. It collapses down to just a few centimetres in height, so it’s ultra-packable and lightweight.


10 Outdoorsy Gifts Under $50 – Christmas Gear Guide 2021


Leatherman Wave Plus Multi-Tool

Another incredibly well reviewed bit of kit on Wild Earth with 23 five-star ratings, the Leatherman Wave Plus Multi-Tool is one fellow readers pick for best product.

Maybe they’ve outsmarted us though, because technically, this product is not one, but 18 tools all wrapped in one neat little 241 gram package. 

For the folks who submitted ‘army knife’ as their one must have item, you would do well to choose this one!

Father's Day Adventure Gift Guide Leatherman multi-tool

Lé Bent socks

An Australian brand with a french name, Lé Bent are purveyors of quality merino and bamboo rayon blend socks. 

Since ‘good socks’ popped up in audience answers a few times, a pair from these guys is a safe bet and once you put merino on your toes, there’s no going back.


Bonus Bits!


‘My Land Cruiser 76’ by way of Victor Ashelford, who is Editor Tim’s Dad.


Reader Submissions - Gear You Can't Go Without

We Are Explorers Team Answers

Once we heard Tim’s dad was getting in on the fun, everyone here at WAE wanted to play too. 

While it was a struggle to get everyone to commit to just one piece of gear, here are some top picks.


Camping Pillow

Social Media guru Jono swears by a good camping pillow and Features Editor Amy agreed, ‘If the difference between a good sleep and a bad sleep is a tiny blow up pillow, it’s coming’.

10 Gift Ideas For The Camper In Your Family – Christmas Gear Guide


Merino Tees

Sian took some Icebreaker Merino Tees for a test drive earlier this year and is now a complete convert. 

‘They are so good,’ said Sian.

‘I can’t believe I’ve hiked all these years without them and now I can’t go back.’

Right now you can also Win 1 of 5 Summer Hike Apparel Packs From Icebreaker.




Also courtesy of Sian, a piece of kit that punches well above its weight.

Earplugs can make or break a night camping. Whether you’re drowning out the sounds of rustling animals, or more likely, party animals at a communal campground, earplugs are the perfect accompaniment to a camping pillow. 



If you’re one of those party animals, or just prone to headaches, Nurofen is a must have in any self respecting first aid kit


Sleep Mask

So, it seems the WAE crew rates a good night’s sleep. 

‘I’m a big fan of a sleep mask,’ said Sales & Partnerships Manager Teige. 

‘This is a bit more general travel than hiking but has served me well on hikes too due to early light in the tent.’


BUY OUR NEW MERCH!, (), Henry, nap, sleep, rest, cap, shirt

Our Day For It Cap is a reasonable substitute for an eye mask if you’re ever in a pinch! | @thetantrap


Coffee Filter

Amy rates a coffee filter as her ‘must have’ and no matter what kind of bush barista you are, there’s a coffee filter for you. 

Check out our review of the 2x Espresso Pour Over Coffee Filter, which may be the one filter to rule them all!



‘I take this puppy everywhere with me,’ said WAE mastermind Henry Brydon. 

‘Quick to put up and I sleep like a foetus (especially in the Hennessy Hammock), they’re also perfect for impromptu forest bathing and napping.’



‘My other nylon hammock can accommodate five small children for aggressive Dad swinging sessions that keeps them entertained for hours (once momentum has been created I can also drink beer without spilling).’

Remembering that beer was another very popular piece of ‘gear’…

Other items include a pack of cards, lip balm and if you’re Tim Ashelford, floss. 

‘I once got a seed stuck between my teeth for a few days while in the backcountry and it gave me a headache.’



So there you have it. It looks like our packs will be a little heavier on our next hike…

Let us know what items you rate in the comments below!


Cover image by @jaseinthewild